Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Boo in Australia - Dinner Highlights in Melbourne

I was in Melbourne for a total of 15 days and, within that time, I tried to cram in as much eating out as is physically possible without making yourself ill.

Here are some of the best meals I had whilst there.

Chin Chin was the talk of the town back in October (still is evidently) and our friends Jamie and Tori recommended that we definitely make time to try it. It was a big deal to whittle down a shortlist in a city where there are so many quality eateries.

I'm so pleased that we made it here, having perused a few blogger reviews beforehand, I had a firm idea of what I wanted to try. The beef massaman curry was the biggest hit of the night, such a rich creamy sauce with plenty of succulent beef. Other treats included the pork roll ups and the son in law eggs, which I had never heard of before, they're deep fried and served in a sticky sauce with fresh chillis.

We also tried some snacks in the bar downstairs whilst waiting for our table (no reservations, obviously) and I distinctly remember the roti wraps being wonderful. Drinks were good, there's a fine selection of cocktails and the only problem you might have with the place is the wait. We were a group of 6 but even on a Monday evening we were told it would be a 2 hour wait. In actuality it was more like 45 minutes. And the food was well worth it.

I was fortunately informed by Melbourne friends in the know, that Lygon Street in Carlton, whilst having the reputation as the place to find the best Italian anything, is best avoided if you're looking for a good meal. We ventured just slightly north to 1 of Dan's favourite places, D.O.C pizza and mozzarella bar.

We had to wait for about 30 minutes, again no reservations are taken, but considering the size of the place (small), we were seated pretty quickly. I had one of the specials, fig, gorgonzola, buffalo mozzarella and proscuitto. It was incredible. It's the 2nd best pizza I've eaten (2nd only to a Tuscan pizza I had years ago on holiday), amazing topping combination and a brilliant crust.

We shared 2 dessert pizzas, this one, white chocolate and strawberry and a nutella calzone. I was speechless they were so good. Side salads were simple but hit the mark and I really wish I had gone back for the mozzarella tasting board. Next time perhaps.

We explored the St Kilda area of the city one day, it was very windy so we drove there, sat on the beach for about 10 minutes, took some pictures, decided it was too chilly and went to find Golden Fields, the real reason I was there!

We were there at around 4pm, only one other table was occupied so I couldn't comment on the atmos but the food was incredible. We started with this steak tartare which was served with large slices of veggies to scoop it up with and some really fragrant lemony basil. It was fresh yet creamy due to the egg yolk, and quite pretty too.

Next up were the new england lobster roll which was fantastic, but a bit of a rip off for $15 for a miniscule bun containing crayfish masquerading as lobster. The kewpie sauce and the bread were so good that I didn't care. The pork dumplings were totally outshone by the chilli vinegar they were served with but I loved everything we ate here.

The final dish we shared was the twice cooked duck served with steamed buns. I like that the portions were fairly small, then you can try more things. I wanted more but as it was late I didn't want to overdo it as we were dining at MoVida Aqui later that day.

Perhaps my most eagerly anticipated Melbourne restaurant, I had ridiculously high hope for this meal. To be honest, I wasn't blown away, I didn't try any flavours that I'd not had before, with the possible exception of the tomato sorbet with the anchovy toasts pictured above. They were pretty good.

Everything was yum, but nothing blew me away. There's a slightly commercial air to this the 3rd MoVida restaurant in Melbourne, the word 'Movida' is everywhere. Highlights of the meal for me were the braised beef with polenta and the scallops with salty ham and creamed potato. Nice to look at too, little towers served in their shells. We had some lovely oysters too. I really wish we'd tried the smaller branch on Hosier Lane and I think we are so truly spoiled with amazing Spanish food here in London that sadly MoVida didn't impress.

Anyway, here's some of the incredible graffiti I saw on Hosier Lane, I still love you Melbourne! They even paint the wheelie bins. That's dedication. Just behind me when I took this picture, was a wedding party having their professional snaps taken with this backdrop.

Chin Chin
125 Flinders Lane

Chin Chin on Urbanspoon

D.O.C Pizza and Mozarella Bar
295 Drummond St

D.O.C. Pizza and Mozzarella Bar on Urbanspoon

Golden Fields
157 Fitzroy St
St Kilda

Golden Fields on Urbanspoon

MoVida Aqui
500 Bourke St (Level 1)

MoVida Aqui and Terraza on Urbanspoon

Thanks to Thomas for his patience, for eating through illness and for not getting too annoyed by my ever growing list of restaurants to drag him along to, both home and away x

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